I left a Christian School after teaching for 12 years; those years were filled with both struggle and joy. I left about four years ago but I was asked by a former student’s parent recently, if I was fired. I guess, I would very much like to respond to that question. I left the school first and soon after that I left my church for some of the same reasons, although my decision to leave the church included different reasons which I will not discuss here. Sometimes you just have to confess and speak the truth. I would love to list grievances and yes I could come up with a couple but mostly, I could no longer sit in silence and let the people around me assume that I agreed with them.
The Belief Statement that I had to sign when I was hired years ago to work at the school had one statement that singled out homosexuals, it stated that as a school we loved the person but hated the sin. I have to admit that when I signed it as a new employee I had not really put much thought into the subject of homosexuality. I had a couple friends who were homosexual but I didn’t see any problem with that statement. I was after all, loving the person. That statement however, never sat well with me. I debated it with several different administrators and eventually, I just let it slid. My main problem comes in hating something that defines a person as much as sexual preference does. My sexuality is part of the person I am. I cannot nor would I want to be “loved” while being condemned for my sexual preference. I know that homosexuality defines who the person believes himself to be so loving that person is impossible if I am judging his sexual preference. I choose to love and I do not think you can love and judge at the same time. I think it is interesting that as a parent, I tried to teach my children to stand up for what they believe in but when push comes to shove; I often do not stand up for what I believe. I believe in loving people without judgment period. I can no longer stand passively by and say nothing. It feels inherently wrong to discriminate against any group of people.
During my time at the school, I was also conflicted when it came to Evolution vs. Creation. I was a literature teacher with a deep interest in science. I believe Genesis 1:1 is a poem and thus symbolic of the beautifully orchestrated development of our planet. I am a Theistic Evolutionist, and No, I do not think those terms conflict. I believe God to be the master designer in the whole process. I would often try to state my opinion but most of the time, I just sat and listened as both parents and associates simply assumed that I believed in a seven day creation scenario. I wanted to state my opinion, I wanted to scream, I wanted to introduce doubt and discuss some of the fundamental problems that exist with taking Genesis 1:1 as a fact. But I remained quiet.
Don’t get me wrong, I took no great pleasure in recognizing that I no longer belonged in a group of people I had grown to love. I spent 12 years loving them, I cried, played, and grew with them and yet there was an empowering freedom that came from leaving them. I wasn’t exactly standing up for what I believed, but at least I was sneaking out the back door.
The final issue that sealed my decision was when my literature choices came under scrutiny. Books that I loved where questioned. Books like, “To Kill a Mockingbird” (I was ask to black out the word nigger), “The Hobbit” (there was magic in it), I was asked to stop using a poem because some of the words were not appropriate (I tried to explain that the word jackass was a donkey in the poem, and it was followed with a discussion of how language has changed over the years). I was asked not to introduce authors like Edgar Allen Poe. I was teaching junior high and high school students and I could not in good conscience introduce literature without introducing the wonderful array of books and authors that are out there. It was in my opinion like asking an artist to paint a rainbow while allowing him the use of only one color. I was even told I was spending too much time on the holocaust, while my class read one of the many books about that time period.
In summary, I love the homosexual and I vote for their rights. I am a Theistic Evolutionist, I believe in God as the master designer of this planet and I believe in the process of evolution. Finally, I love literature….all literature and I believe wholeheartedly that it should be taught without reservation. I do not believe in censorship even when it is coming from a well meaning parent or a group of educators. I do believe in wisdom as tough subjects are introduced to students and I believe I used wisdom when I talked about those hard topics. To answer that parent who asked me if I was fired, I was not. I just simply could not continue to feel like a secret agent, nor could I function as if the school’s Belief Statement was my own.